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While federal grant levels vary from year to year (sometimes extremely), big federal grants are common and awards frequently range from $500,000 to millions of dollars. It’s great to bring in big federal dollars to support your work, but remember, once you win big grant awards you’ve got to manage them in compliance with an extensive roster of rules and regulations. If you’re a beginner grants professional, you’ll also need help learning to manage federal funding correctly. Federal grant money must be spent only on approved activities, must be managed to comply with regulations, and is expected to result in measurable results. Free federal grant money is not a reality.
The third policy option is known as nominal gross domestic product targeting, the major proponent of which is the economist Scott Sumner. The idea is all about self-fulfilling expectations. Recall that the central bank owns the printing press, so it can create arbitrary quantities of dollars. By making a pre-commitment to keep the economy on a particular spending trajectory, self-fulfilling collapses in spending would not happen. Something similar to this policy seems to have kept Australia and Israel out of the Great Recession. But in order to sustain such a policy, the Fed might have to intervene in the economy quite frequently, and then the distributional consequences could be serious. Quantitative easing, for example, helps push up asset prices (the stock market has regained all the ground lost since 2009 and then some), which disproportionately benefits the wealthy. Free Money Machine